Diagnosis on Transport Risk Based on a Combined Assessment of Road Accidents and Watershed Vulnerability to Spills of Hazardous Substances
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Roads play an important role in the economic development of cities and regions, but the transport of cargo along highways may represent a serious environmental problem because a large portion of transported goods is composed of dangerous products. In this context, the development and validation of risk management tools becomes extremely important to support the decision-making of people and agencies responsible for the management of road enterprises. In the present study, a method for determination of environmental vulnerability to road spills of hazardous substances is coupled with accident occurrence data in a highway, with the purpose to achieve a diagnosis on soil and water contamination risk and propose prevention measures and emergency alerts. The data on accident occurrences involving hazardous and potentially harmful products refer to the highway BR 050, namely the segment between the Brazilian municipalities of Uberaba and Uberlandia. The results show that many accidents occurred where vulnerability is high, especially in the southern sector of the segment, justifying the implementation of prevention and alert systems. The coupling of vulnerability and road accident data in a geographic information system proved efficient in the preparation of quick risk management maps, which are essential for alert systems and immediate environmental protection. Overall, the present study contributes with an example on how the management of risk can be conducted in practice when the transport of dangerous substances along roads is the focus problem.